A Further Reckoning in Shanghai

By tree.hugger
18:45 November 17 2012
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Graphics by shiroiusagi. Photo by NASA

Yesterday, in Shanghai, China, Liquid`HerO took on EGStephano.RC in the opening match of the so called group of death. HerO has had a troubled history against the French champion. Even when HerO's PvZ was renowned, Stephano was the one player who gave him fits. In the more recent era of zerg dominance over protoss, Stephano has become even scarier. They are excellent foils for each other. HerO's play is passionate, creative, and stylish. Stephano has ice-water running through his veins; his play, methodical and overwhelming. One is Liquid, one is EG.

But what's a rivalry if only one side wins all the time? In their opening match, the hype looked misplaced. Stephano controlled the opening series, decisively winning by a 2-0 score.

But suddenly the script flipped. HerO had no trouble smashing Samsung KHAN's RorO in the losers match, who on paper should've been a serious threat. Meanwhile, Stephano shockingly lost to his teammate EGIdrA.RC, who was commonly assumed to be the least threatening player, albeit in the group of death. Suddenly events conspired to have given HerO a second chance.

Could he take it? HerO got off to a good start in the first game of their rematch on Cloud Kingdom. But in that trademark Stephano style, the zerg held off the protoss aggression, took a lead and never relinquished it. Game two saw HerO off to another early lead with phoenix play. But when Stephano tried to respond with his customary roach-ling midgame, something was off. And HerO's positioning and micro was on. A pre-hive push proved devastating as Stephano couldn't engineer the kind of engagement that usually results in a miraculous hold. Suddenly, HerO had taken a game after three straight losses. Suddenly both players only needed one game to advance.

On Antiga Shipyard, HerO delivered one of the better performances of his career. It wasn't stylish. It wasn't a symphony of micro and multi-task. But the fundamentals were untouchable. HerO backed himself into a corner to scare back a roach-ling attack from Stephano, then provoked a fight on his terms and won decisively. The next time Stephano came calling, HerO hallucinated two colossi and pushed. The French zerg, under pressure that he perhaps hadn't expected didn't catch the ruse. He tied up supply in useless corruptors, and HerO's ground force was too strong. These were not the droids Stephano was looking for. With picture perfect play when it counted, HerO beat back his demons and advanced into the round of 16.

WCS World Championships
Sunday, Nov 18 1:30am UTC (GMT+00:00)
Feat. kr [image loading] HerO!

(Wiki)2012 Battle.net World Championship
All four stream links!

And so, we're back. HerO is back. One more day of competition looms. In today's action, a world champion will be crowned. If he plays like he did at the end of the first day, it will be HerO.

kr [image loading] Liquid`HerO vs dk [image loading] FXOBabyKnight

His first opponent is FXOBabyKnight, who showed off his stellar PvP in beating SKT1_By.Rain to advance from Group D. This will not be easy; none of the remaining players are a pushover. But some things are now clear. HerO can take this tournament. He has overcome one of his most persistent rivals already. Potentially in his path, should he prevail against BK, are Curious, PartinG, Scarlett, and then perhaps Rain or Creator. These are opponents who have beaten HerO before. These are opponents worth beating. If that's not motivation, then I don't know what is.

So lets go. Let's cheer him on. On the second day of competition in Shanghai, we need a HerO.

HerO Fighting!

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